19 October 2012

Alpha Male Blog Hop




Clearly, I didn't plan this post better because I am supposed to be getting up in two hours to flly to Germany. Yes, that means for the next 10 days there will be no updates, except for this one. It's rough and rushed, but this is what I have to say about Alpha Males. But be sure to check back to Carrie Ann's Blog Hop Site because there is a giveaway (I was supposed to do one too, but forgive me, I have run out of time).

If we look at the Wikipedia definition for social animals, Alpha Males eat first and mate first. The fourth definition of Alpha Male in the Urban dictionary describes them as young men who try to be the centre of attention, intimidate others, and have aggressive personalities that only become refined as these men become older. I was about to go from there when a Men's Health Magazine article caught my attention and listed some characteristics of an Alpha Male.

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I do have to say that I agree with much of what I've found online as characteristics of an Alpha Male. A taller, well toned man with some stubble does make my head turn. A deeper voice and a sweet accent I also like to put down as a request, but a chiseled jaw and hair colour tend to be irrelevant for me. But that's not all that qualifies a male to be Alpha, it's also the way he presents himself: confident, ambitious (mayb not always be in the right direction, but it still counts), and proud. A sense of humour and a nice smile kind of tops it off for an Alpha Male.

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 OR being a little rough around the edges.

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When I think of Alpha Males I tend associate action movies with them. It's like the only time anybody gets to see Alpha Males on display and in their elements. Unfortunately, Alpha Males in many movies don't have a reputation for treating their Leading Ladies with a whole lot of respect or like they're capable, so it's always sweet when there's a character that crops up that happens to be Alpha, heroic, and respectful.

As a 21st Century woman, I'm not afraid to take charge, make decisions, and keep my cool in situations some people will panic in. Though, being in charge can sometimes be exhausting and an Alpha Male seems like the type who would be able to step up to the plate and carry the torch for a day longer than I'd need because, of course, I'd want an Alpha Male with a bit of sensitivity and initiative.

Women's Health wrote an article awhile back about the disappearance of Alpha Males, and I'm speculating here, but I think more women fantasize about Alpha Males because there are fewer and fewer around these days? Or they're finding it easier to become Betas because women are increasing their Alpha qualities (what constitutes an Alpha Female anyway)?

The Urban Dictionary has some definitions for Betas, and describing their qualities along the lines of less charismatic, having less prowess, and less physical presence. Safe to say, they're typically not the bad boy alpha males we tend to fantasize about and the ones we tend to stay with in reality. Perhaps, as a society of women, we've come to realize Betas work hard too and are committed, thoughtful, and generous but aren't typically weaklings either. Even the media has started to reflect this trend.

Or maybe, we just want just the qualities from both Alpha and Beta males all wrapped into one?

18 October 2012

Finally!


Yes, finally! I found out on Tuesday that I've been accepted into the Overseas Nursing Programme!

I still may not be registered by the end of the year to complete my goal, but I'm well on my way there.

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That is all.

17 October 2012

The 99 Workout Review


I'm a fan of body weight and home work outs. They're fantastic for traveling or for days you can't be bothered to leave the house. We all have those days.

A couple weeks back I had a lot of those days, so when I stumbled across this one called "The 99" and I thought to myself, "Perfect!"

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I know this came with a warning on the image that it would take a long time, but I think I'm not the only one to have underestimated exactly how long this workout would take. Without the run (because it got dark while I was trying to finish this up), I think it took me nearly two hours.

It's not a badly balanced workout, but it did get terribly boring by the time I had to do start the rounds of 55. Srsly. I took longer and longer breaks between the sets because Twitter was more fascinating (when is it not?). I started to switch up the exercises to leg lifts, bicycles, wide squats, narrow squats, tricep push ups, etc. A search of other blogs who reviewed the workout found the same thing.

Only later I found "The 99 Workout Remix" which is kind of the same idea, but someone made it into a fancy picture:

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16 October 2012

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

I enjoy posting recipes. Especially tasty ones that are relatively healthy. Key word, relatively.

Not today.

Sometimes, you just need to bake the naughty things to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or chocolate heart. A couple of weeks back there was a Chocolate Blog Hop and I posted that I don't actually like chocolate so it might be a bit of a surprise that I baked cookies that included chocolate.

However, Nutella and white chocolate aren't really chocolate. They don't taste like it anyway, and that's what I've used to make these cookies.

  • 1 cup (250 ml) chocolate hazelnut spread (aka Nutella)
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) butter or margarine
  • 1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (750 ml) all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 pkg (250 g) dark chocolate chips
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas Mark 4) Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Beat together hazelnut spread and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined; stir in vanilla.
  2. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture; mix on low speed until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. The dough can be frozen for up to 6 months in a freezer bag; thaw before continuing.
  3. Drop tabspoonfuls (15 ml), at least 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 13 min or until edges are crisp and bottoms are set. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
Serious, 5 dozen cookies.Unfortunately I only Instagram-ed one of those dozens.

I've swapped the dark chocolate for white and added half a cup for sliced almonds. Real hazelnuts would work too.

12 October 2012

Carolynne Poole


I'm a fan.

Doesn't she just look like a country star?
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For those people who don't know who Carolynne Poole is, she was one of X-Factor's Finalists in the UK and was voted off, essentially, last Sunday. She was in the bottom two and had a sing off with another competitor, Rylan Clark. The judges were supposed to decide, based on that performance, who should stay on the X-Factor, or who should stay. One of the judges, Louis Walsh, changed his mind, and it went to a Deadlock and it was discovered the Carolynne got the lowest number of votes of all the contestants. There was a mass outrage on Twitter, with over 650,000 tweets on the subject, and even rumours of a fixed decision to further the controversy.

I'm not one to bring up reality television programming, or talent contests, because I tend not to watch them. But there is something massive to be learned from this: even though you have the talent, it's not guaranteed to make you successful. Even though you've worked hard and poured your blood, sweat, and tears into something that you're good at and that you love, doesn't mean you're guaranteed a spot at the top.



I don't think I'm off the mark if I say that a lot of people are aware of this, particularly in the self-publishing and self-creating circle of bloggers that I have stumbled upon in the last couple of years. But it's one thing to read another person's blog, it's another to watch it on live television. You can't help but feel for someone like Carolynne Poole, and you can't help but feel that it's so unfair.

What would be the right words to say to somebody that got one step closer but again didn't make it? I don't think even a cup of tea could fix it that. My hope is that if you feel like you're meant to do something, have the faith to keep going.

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11 October 2012

My NaNoWriMo Meme


In spite of perpetual procrastination, I'm a planner when it comes to writing.

I like to really plan every scene complete with notes about emotions I want to bring out in a reader. Then I get all upset that when I actually get around to writing the scene that it doesn't end up like I had planned. I know, I know no plan survives the first point of contact intact. That doesn't mean I don't want it to work out anyway.

So this year, I am completely pants-ing NaNoWriMo.


 That's a lie. I'm pants-ing with a plan.

I have to complete one more "30 days of..." Meme to accomplish one more of my goals for 2012 so I thought what better than to incorporate NaNo into it? Really though, I'm running out of months now that October is into its second week and I would be sure to fail if I tried a 30 Days Meme in December.

I found a couple of "30 Days of NaNo" memes that had everything to do with the story you would have planned or be writing. This wouldn't lend itself to properly pantsing so I decided to come up with a 30 Days of NaNo of my own.

My "30 Days of NaNoWriMo Writing" is geared towards action-adventure type stories so the topics for each day reflect that. For each day, I will write a scene with a collection of characters that I will make up on the fly, and the scenes will all be from the same Universe or Story. However, that scenes are presented in random order so at the end of NaNo I can either try to edit them together, or simply leave them as a collection or scenes. Obviously, I'll decided on that later but I will post everyday what I think is the best line of each day.

The Capillary's 30 Days of NaNoWriMo Scenes:

Day 1: Ending Scene
Day 2: Flash back scene
Day 3: Wedding scene
Day 4: Death of side kick Scene
Day 5: Defeat of villain scene
Day 6: Realizing what’s at stake scene
Day 7: Betrayal scene
Day 8: Fantasy scene
Day 9: Villain hostage scene
Day 10: First kiss between characters scene
Day 11: Exploring a new place scene
Day 12: Gun fight scene
Day 13: Meeting the paranormal/supernatural scene
Day 14: Dream sequence scene
Day 15: Banter scene
Day 16: Love/Sex scene
Day 17: Drunk scene
Day 18: Villain plotting scene
Day 19: Argument between 2 characters scene
Day 20: War scene
Day 21: Comfort scene between 2 characters scene
Day 22: Meeting supporting male scene
Day 23: Hand to hand combat scene
Day 24: Meeting supporting female scene
Day 25: Car chase scene
Day 26: Meeting the mentor/advisor scene
Day 27: Meeting female lead scene
Day 28: Meeting male lead scene
Day 29: Learning new power scene
Day 30: Opening Scene

Who else wants to give it a try? 

10 October 2012

Blogilates Workout Calenders


If you've been following my Twitter you've noticed that I retweet or just simply tweet a lot of Cassie Ho's YouTube workouts, particularly this month. I stumbled on her YouTube channel in July when Women's Health hosted a 30 days ab challenge. She had posted an ab workout with the hashtag and after I did the first video I was hooked.

Not because of music or the commentary during the videos, mind you, but because of the creative body weight workouts that she has a whole library of. While I was in Germany and had no access to a gym, I was able to complete full body workouts. They're divided into upper and lower body, cardio, challenges, and so forth and you could go through them all day if you wanted to.

The only downside is that the workouts are not geared towards beginners, especially the latest ones. In her earlier videos Cassie does mention variations, but with her enthusiasm somehow gets you to try the hardest ones.

She has a whole blog dedicated to clean eating, exercising, and her fashion line, but I'm the biggest fan of her workout calenders. To access them you need to join her mailing list where she sends you the passwords, but once you've got them you're off to the races. My favourite calender so far is October because of the simplicity: you just do all of the videos listed for each day.

Three months of messing around.


I have to admit, though, that I don't do the videos exactly when I'm supposed to. With Tae Kwon Do training and the running and other strength training I do, I typically use Blogilates for supplemental exercises and inspiration. The only workout classes offered around here for reasonable is Zumba (we've talked about this one before) so the Pilates ab exercises that Cassie does are wonderful, just the challenge I need. I've really enjoyed some of her HIIT videos when I don't really feel like leaving the house for cardio. I don't like all of her videos, however, as an example I really dislike her "Gangnam Style" cardio video.

Overall, they're workouts I'll keep trying to do because they're challenging and who doesn't like a challenge?  I can even admit that some of my new tone, exercise regime, and inspiration is because of Blogilates though I can appreciate it's not everybody's cup of tea.

09 October 2012

Crushed Potato Salad



So I’ve tried my hardest to find the recipe online, especially on the Tesco website, but to no avail. It’s kind of funny because it’s a “Tesco Inspires” recipe. I happened on this recipe when I picked up a tub of hummus on the discount shelf and on the inside of the packaging was a recipe for this potato salad. 

I was quite impressed with the recipe, the flavours, and how easy it was to make. I’ve tried this recipe out on a couple friends that don’t seem very adventurous with their food and even they liked it. The only downside is that it doesn’t seem to last very long. One night in our fridge and it already started to smell and taste funky, so only make as much as you’re going to eat!

CRUSHED POTATO SALAD
·         500g baby potatoes
·         167g spicy hummus
·         8 green or black olives, halves
·         2 spring onions, chopped
·         8 sun blush tomatoes, chopped
·         Chopped, fresh parsley


  • Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain, then return to the pan and gently crush with a potato masher
  • Thin the hummus with a splash of boiling water. Fold into the potatoes with the olives, spring onions, tomatoes and plenty of seasoning
  • Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve Warm


As a side note, I left out the olives because nobody likes them in this household and instead of using water I used a bit of skim milk, though they’re pretty much the same thing…

Let me know if anybody else tries it! :3

08 October 2012

e-Etiquette


First off, let me mention that I'm not expert on etiquette. I don't know where the second or third knife is supposed to be placed, and I'm not entirely sure who is supposed to be served first when sitting around a table of several guests. Nor am I officially an expert in being polite, however, I do make an effort with the both concepts: being polite and knowing some etiquette.

Forgot to mention, there's a fourth knife....
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For instance, I try not to interrupt people. I always try to say "thank you" when somebody did something for me, or say "Excuse me" instead of "Hey you" if I'm trying to get somebody's attention. I try to chew with my mouth closed and when I'm wearing a skirt I try to sit properly. When I'm communicating with people online for the first time I try not to be too personal, overbearing, patronizing, or sarcastic because that shit never goes down well.

I'm getting a little rant on about e-Etiquette because last week, after I posted the result of a fanfiction drabble challenge, I got two private messages, both inviting me to Twilight RPG's.

Person A

Person B

Sometimes it's hard not to be patronizing, but allow me a moment of it to make a list of some e-invite to RPG etiquette that I have followed in the past, and would follow again.

  1. Introduce yourself.
    • It's sounds a bit obvious, so think of it as a reminder. I probably don't know your handle from somebody else's. Your avatar doesn't tell me much either.
  2. Some background information
    • Why not tell me about your experience with what you are presenting to me. If you've RP-ed lots, if this is your first time (hey, you've got to start somewhere), or if you're primarily a Jurassic Park RPG-er and wanted to try your hand at something else. Whatevs. Just something to give me the impression you're trying to be genuine.
  3. Don't make assumptions.
    • Assumptions really grip a lot of people (I suppose that's an assumption in itself, but I digress...), and Person A made quite a few of them. She assumed I liked Twiligh, then assumed I'd be interested in RP-ing just because I posted a Twilight drabble, then assumed I was asking how to role play when I just wanted some information about the game, and then assumed with her poor answer I was just going to sign up. Granted you can't assume that anybody knows what an RPG is, but there is a way to communicate this without sounding like a trumpet. The reply from Person B did this very well in her introduction, though she made some overlapping assumption of A: that I'm interested in RPG-ing just because I've posted a Twilight drabble.
  4. Don't be patronizing. 
    • You don't have to be an expert in communication to know when somebody is being patronizing towards you. You just feel it and unless you're good at schooling your emotions, the scary Hulk-like creature erupts from within. Be factual and formal, and be sure you read what the other person has responded so you don't misinterpret their question and look like a lizard. Referring to Person A.
  5. Make a note of what you have said.
    • I didn't think this would bother me until I read Person A's "PS sorry if I've PMed you before." Seriously, if you can't keep track of the people you're inviting to your game then maybe you need to change your strategy. People want to feel unique and appreciated, not like someone to fill the space of your forum. There is no way I'm going to take you seriously if you don't remember sending a message to me in the past. 
  6. Know who you're talking to.
    • This ties into assumptions. If you want to invite somebody to your party, see if they might be interested in what you are. Read my profile, see what external links I've provided, skim the stories I've posted, etc etc. Unless of course you just really want people to fill the void of your forum... However, knowing something about the person you want to invite often scores some brownie points and generates a lot more interest than saying "Oh, you don't actually have to like the fandom." and "Sorry if I've PMed you before." Seriously, I'm not going to waste my time if you can't take the time to make a genuine effort.
  7.  Provide clear and concise information.
    • It seems pretty basic, but if you want people to go to your forum you need to give them the website. It's pretty obvious person A couldn't do this, so B gets kudos. She sold her forum better and actually gave me a link to where I could go to. Including myself, I can count everybody I know who can find a million other things to do online before bothering to look for a forum SOMEWHERE on FF.Net for some random Twilight RPG.
  8. Spelling & Grammar
    • Not much of a problem for either person A or B, but just a good reminder for everybody, really. If you want to be taken seriously, make sure you know your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. One of those basic habits that will set you above the bar.
I'm stepping off my soap box now, but if anybody has any other points that should be added, or e-etiquette tips, leave me a comment.

05 October 2012

Proper Goal Update - Part 5


You're back again? How wonderful!

Though, I'm sure I heard you mutter the words, paint dry or something.

These goals I inadvertently completed that weren't on my master list, but it still counts all the same. Especially since I didn't manage to complete so many of my intended goals.

21. Walk & Bike everywhere possible next summer.
Originally I listed this goal from a fitness stand point. Driving a car is definitely more convenient, but I always figured if you're able to spend 30 min getting to work and 30 min back you have already completed your workout for the day, thus making your day more organized! I actually don't know how feasible this is for a lot of people, especially the ones with a litter of children, but it worked well enough for me the last couple weeks of work.

I didn't have to try very hard after I moved to the UK to walk and bike everywhere. It was due to not feeling comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road. I opted to walk everywhere, and it was alright because everything is in walking distance.

22. Catch up on blog reading.
I always knew about RSS feeds and readers, but for whatever reason it took me until this September to set mine up and use it reguarly...

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23. Follow the traditional anniversary gifts.
Last year was paper, this year was cotton. Clive got a shirt and I got an apron. It was cool.

24. Get a white board.
Best organizational tool ever.

Black: exercise, red: real life to-do, blue: writing to-do, and green: blogging to-do.

25. Start a herb garden.
I am so not a gardener. I don't' even have the basic knowledge of how to plant plants, flowers, or vegetables. So this was an experiment because I like being able to grab fresh herbs when I want without a huge cost. Tesco's sells plantable herbs too, so this sort of seemed to give me a kick start.

I've done well with chives, sage, and rosemary. But parsley and basil? Not so much. And basil's supposed to be an easy starter herb. Yeah right...

I wasn't smart enough to take the pictures the other way to show you the non-dying herbs.

Anybody else close to completing their goals? Or failed miserably?


04 October 2012

Proper Goal Update - Part 4

 
Part four? When will it end?

16. Create a "to read" book list.
I started this a number of months ago, and then I don't know what happened to the list. I started it again in July, but then that disappeared too... I don't understand where I'm putting this list on my computer that it keeps going missing! Ah well, a work in progress.

17. Learn how to iron.
Haven't touched an iron this year yet.

18. Learn how to tie a tie.
Haven't touched a tie either.

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19. Get registered with the NMC.
Still working on that. I finally got my application approved by the NMC, so now I must do a course before I can be properly registered. I don't think there's an exam, but so far the process has been long and vague, and will only be complete sometime in 2013.

Viva unemployment.

20. Participate in a workout class once a week, minimum.
Starting Taekwon Do again counts, yes? Does it count that I only started in September? Perhaps not. But it's a goal started and I just have to make sure I keep it up until the end of December. Which I think I will because I LOVE it, haha.

03 October 2012

Proper Goal Update - Part 3

Guess what.

It's raining. Again.

It's also effing freezing.

I am one unhappy cat.

11. Do a walking pub tour of Belfast.
I am preparing to register myself for a nursing course so that I can get registered. It'll likely prevent me from completing this goal since it is a number of months long. More details on that to come, but in the mean I'm going to wear my grumpy pants.

I would also be filled with glee if I got this shirt.
A walking contradiction. Ha!
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12. Work through "31 Days to Build A Better Blog"
I started this in August and I'm about halfway through. That sounds bad since it's set up to be completed in 31 days. But! The breaks I've taken were on purpose. I wanted to really take some time on some areas, such as layout, and look at other blogs and why I liked them or didn't like them. I have applied some small changes since starting and hope to make a few more so it's just a better blog all around. Feedback for this is always welcome, so don't be shy (even though I'm wearing my grumpy pants today)!

13. Complete 2 Blogging Memes
I struggled with this goal. I did the A to Z challenge in April, but that doesn't really count as a meme does it? It's a blogging challenge. Then I did the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind, and that was a series of really boring, introspective posts I did because it was a goal as well. September was probably the first proper meme I completed on this blog.

But it's October now and I have only 12 weeks to complete one more... I have one planned for November, but I'm still open to suggestions! Otherwise you'll have to suffer through something like the 50 Questions again, haha.

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14. Complete one unfinished project.
Not complete yet, but the pressure is on to finish, especially since NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and that'll be a whole month of distraction. The project I'm hoping to complete is my Gargoyles fanfiction "Elisa's Thoughts". I know, out of all the projects I do this? The point is that I complete a project, and like I said last month, a novel just isn't in my card at the moment.

15. Shut off the computer every night before bed.
For a while I had a bad habit of leaving the computer on all day and all night... and I can't remember why. In any case, I don't do it anymore, so mission accomplished.

02 October 2012

Proper Goal Update - Part 2


I was going to do all my goal updates in one post, but then it got ridiculously lengthy and I know I'm already boring everybody to tears, so I didn't want to push my luck beyond that.

6. Don't Accumulate more than $250 on my credit card.
I've done well with this, and I can probably say that this goal is complete. I know, I know, there are still three months left and can easily make some large purchases. In my defense, whatever I've bought with my card I've paid off immediately. No problem here and safe to say if I haven't been crazy with this card already it's not likely to happen in the next three months.

7. Get a job while in the UK
Still working on this. I'm not registered as a nurse yet, and that will take some time yet. Granted I could get a simple shelf-stocking job or something, but I shouldn't get distracted by wanting more money. I need to focus all my energy into getting registered, then the job will take care of itself.

8. Learn how to use public transit in the UK
This one has been hard to judge since I haven't needed to go anywhere and, let's face it, it's pretty boring to just hop on a bus and go somewhere. But the few times I have used it I've had no trouble, in large part thanks to Google Maps. I know that there are few public transit systems that can match Germany's, but the one in the UK I find is far, far more confusing than Canada's even.

Using my phone for transit was almost this bad.
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 There is seriously three levels of public transit in this county. If you go to another county then you have to transfer to another station, which also has three different levels minimum. They all run at different times, but the same route, which doesn't loop around or take the same way back that it came. There are no maps available so you somehow just have to know where all these little bus stops are and how they connect with each other.

Patience is a virtue, hahahahaha.....

9. Go on a zipline
Yeah, never managed to do this before leaving Canada... Will not likely happen while this year either in the UK.

Sad pants.

10. Spend a weekend in London, England
Due to time and life circumstances, spending a weekend here before next will also not likely happen.

More sad pants.

I would be filled with glee if I somehow acquired a pair of these.
Contradiction, I know.
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01 October 2012

Proper Goal Update - Part 1


I'm finally getting around to doing a proper goal update. It's been a long time since I did one because of the Meme's and series of Questions I've completed.

Also because it's October and I only have 12 weeks left to complete as many things as possible. Ah, that doesn't sound like me at all, does it?

1. No Donuts for Another year.
I've done well on this, especially since last week was 1000 days donut free. I don't have photographic evidence of that day sadly, so you'll have to settle for this.


Because 999 has way more swag than 1000.

2. Only drink diet pop or low sugar juice.
Done well on this as well. Except for that one time I drank a lot of Screwdrivers in February...

3. Run at least twice a week. 
This has been a hit and a miss this year. Some months I have done really well, and other months have been quite crap, even though there's been little reason for it. It all becomes very apparent when there's a devise that will record your every run, distance, and pace. Not to pimp out Nike+ gear, because I know there is plenty of other sports gear that does the same job (Addidas a thing, RunKeeper, and so forth), but it's really helped me realize patterns and trends, as well as point out my accomplishments, such as fastest miles.

Looking back over the course of this year I've definitely done better than 2011, but my average still isn't a solid twice times a week running. I've got three months to get it up there. I can do it!


This is seriously, the most fit I've ever been in my life.

4. Continue logging into MyFitnessPal.
Essentially, keep on counting calories (Again, not pimping MFP, many other calorie counters out there). I made this a goal because only by counting calories, carbs, and grams of fat, I manage to keep my weight at a steady level.

Over the last two months I've done really well even though the year has been a hit and a miss. Counting calories does get a bit tedious, especially when I eat the same breakfast, or I've thrown together a casserole with a bunch of left overs. I just need to keep this up until the year ends. Go me!

5. Participate in a half-marathon
Sadly, this is not going to happen this year. I gave up on the one in May because I had a lot on my plate. As much as I still would like to do this in the next while, I need to be focusing my energies on other things. I've recently started up Taekwon Do training again, and while I'm still running regularly, I am really enjoying the training again.

And I can't wait until the blisters stop appearing and my skin gets tough, like the rest of me.